Havering Council has caused an uproar amongst residents after announcing plans for cashless parking machines in the borough.

In a move aimed at modernising the borough's parking facilities, the council is replacing cash-accepting machines with contactless terminals.

However, the decision has sparked a backlash on social media, with residents branding the changes as "ridiculous".

The council revealed its plans on January 19 and expects all machines to be replaced by mid-February.

The new terminals will allow payment by debit card, credit card, or smartphone, but will not accept cash.

A particular concern among Facebook users was the accessibility of the new system.

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Colin Redpath said: "You couldn't make it up, more harder to do than just putting a couple of coins in a slot.

"Not everyone wants to muck around with a mobile just to park for an hour."

Another resident, Anne Handley, agreed, sharing her daughter's experience of difficulties paying via her phone: "My daughter paid via her phone, it took 15 mins to do it.

"It lost all her information then she managed to pay after a long while after a lot of faffing about."

Many readers highlighted the potential impact on older people, who may not be adept at using cashless payment methods.

Romford Recorder: All machines will be replaced by mid-FebruaryAll machines will be replaced by mid-February (Image: PA)

Maria Goff pointed out: "What about the elderly who don’t have smart phones that drive?"

The council mentioned that pay-in-cash facilities would be available in nearby shops through PayPoint facilities, but this didn't stop concerns online.

Some even called the changes "ridiculous".

However, while supporters of the plan were in fewer numbers, there were some voices of approval.

One resident said: "About time, for people that still want to pay cash, just go to a shop with a Pay Point & pay cash."

The conversation further revealed concerns about parking enforcement in Havering.

Ionut-Ofelia Stanciu, a delivery driver, criticised the strict enforcement, saying he received a fine within minutes of parking, dubbing Havering a "ridiculous borough".

Meanwhile, the council has warned residents that failing to pay the parking fee could lead to a penalty charge notice.

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The council maintains its commitment to the changes, posting online the list of sites set to become phone or app-only parking spaces by the end of 2023.

A Havering Council spokesperson said: "We understand that there are people who still wish to pay with cash and they can still do so at nearby PayPoint facilities, including in local shops, where these PayPoint facilities are close to many of our council car parks and shopping areas.

"Residents and visitors will still be eligible for the free 30 minutes parking in on-street parking bays and council car parks, as per the current free parking arrangements. 

"Some of our very quiet pay and display parking locations will no longer have a payment machine, but people can pay for their parking by phone (using the number displayed on site), by PayPoint or through the RingGo cashless parking app."